Recapping the Quality Education Academy Invitational.
With most high school basketball not starting until late November or early December throughout the United States, college basketball coaches on the grind recruiting and hoop-heads alike need to get their fix on high school basketball in one way or another. Luckily, with no substantial governing body in prep school basketball, it is basically at the school’s discretion when they’d like to hit the court and do their thing.
More often then not, prep school games are played in small gyms with crowds less than 100. The only people that you will usually find in the stereotypical dimly lit prep school gym are die-hard hoops fans, parents, scouting services, and college basketball coaches trying to snag a kid to their respective program. At the Quality Educational Academy Invitational Tournament, they proved that they can draw fans, selling the gym out on the final day while also drawing college coaches from the A-10, ACC, SEC, Big East, and Conference-USA.
The music was loud, the pace was fast, and the talent was abundant. No, there weren’t a ton of detailed sets being called by any of the coaches. No, there was not a great amount of chemistry amongst the teams due to most of their players coming from out of state. And No, most of the players are not the age of your typical high school senior (many have re-classified for academics or are post-grads to improve their recruiting standing). However, basketball aficionados and college coaches alike were thrilled with the massive abundance of talent on hand.
Here’s a look at some of the top ballers the tourney offered:
Quincy Miller | 6-8 | SF/PF | Quality Education (NC) | 2011
Arguably the top junior in the country, Miller was coming off of a fractured wrist and struggled with his shot in the game we caught. He dropped 30 the night before, but still showed the crazy skill set that sets him apart from other wings in his class in the losing effort against Mountain State. The Chicago native is certainly going to have to get stronger, but the package of length, perimeter skills, and athleticism he offers have drawn him numerous comparisons to Kevin Durant. We’re not willing to hone him as the next KD just yet, but he’s definitely a guy that you’ll be seeing a lot of in the next couple of years.
Jacob Lawson | 6-8 | PF | Oak Ridge Military Academy (NC) | 2011
A physical man-child with nasty athleticism, Lawson was dominant in a loss to God’s Academy and was one of the major targets of college coaches in attendance. He’s still very much a work in progress and has a ways to go in terms of his post moves, but you can’t deny how hard the junior plays or his ability to change the game with his explosive leaping ability. The length, punishing style of play, and physical prowess that he brings to the table have made him a major recruiting target for ACC programs such as Wake Forest and Virginia Tech.
Justin Martin | 6-6 | SF | Mountain State Academy (WV) | 2010
Martin took over the game in his hyped matchup against Quincy Miller with his ability to stroke it from beyond the arc. It didn’t matter if his feet were set, if he was coming at you off of the dribble, or if he was coming off of a screen….it was money. The Xavier commit may not be the most athletic guy in the world, but he finds ways to slash to the rim and should be able to contribute immediately for Chris Mack and Co. once he plays his first college game.
Jay Canty | 6-5 | SF | Oak Ridge Military Academy (NC) | 2010
The versatile Canty was injured about 6 minutes into his game against God’s Academy, so we didn’t get to catch as much of him as we’d like to. He played great defense and was a bit of a point forward in his limited PT, leaving one to imagine what he’ll be able to do when he suits up for Xavier next year. Luckily, it appeared that Canty’s injury wasn’t too serious and he’ll be back on the hardwood within the next couple of weeks doing his thing.
KC Ross-Miller | 6-1 | PG | God’s Academy (TX) | 2010
Ross-Miller was the top point guard that the tourney had to offer, leading his team to a 1-1 record with two monster games. The shifty floor general is coached by his pops and had the ball in his hands the entire game, making it easy to see all of the talents that he had to offer. The Dallas native converted on a number of acrobatic finishes in traffic and showed good court vision, but really must put in some time on his jumper if he hopes to keep defenders honest. He was originally committed to Kentucky under the Billy Clyde regime, but will likely be headed somewhere in the Big 12 or Conference-USA now that Calipari is running the show.
David Nyarsuk | 7-1 | C | Mountain State Academy (WV) | 2010
Bob Huggins’ latest recruit was an animal on the defensive end, swatting countless shots and leading his team in rebounds in the win over Quality Education. Like most Sudanese players, his defensive is much farther ahead then his offense at this point in the game. He’s going to have to add a ton of weight to his lower body and refine his offensive game before he’s able to make a serious contribution in the Big East, but you can’t blame Huggy-Bear for taking a risk on a 7-1 defensive presence this late in the game.
Obij Aget | 6-11 | PF/C | Mountain State Academy (WV) | 2010
The next high major Sudanese prospect to come about is Aget, an athletic forward. Just a member of the class of 2012, he showed tons of promise in the tournament and was a major impact player despite his limited minutes on the floor. Aget is a bit of a twig at the moment and will certainly be consuming tons of protein shakes over the next few years, but is already light years ahead of most African bigs at this point in the game. He does a great job running the floor, knocked down a mid-range jumper, and was super active on the defensive end. Obij still needs some work on this mitts (he bobbled a number of passes), but will certainly land at a bigtime program when it’s all said and done. Rumor has it that he may follow his fellow countryman David Nyarsuk to Morgantown, but only time will tell if WVU is able to grab two diamonds from the Sudan.
Remi Dibo | 6-8 | SF/PF | Mountain State Academy (WV) | 2010
After spending the last few campaigns at Stoneridge Prep in California, Dibo relocated to West Virginia with a new swagger to his game. Originally from France, he came to the QEA tourney with a refined jumper and ability to get to the rim off of the bounce. He still has a few holes in his game that he’ll need to sure up before he hits the collegiate hardwood, but don’t be surprised to see this sleeper land at a high-major program this spring.
Stargell Love | 6-2 | PG | Quality Education (NC) | 2010
Love didn’t have his best showing ever, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s a big point guard with an incredibly sick handle. John Wall’s heir to the throne for the D-1 Sports AAU program displayed an improved J from when we saw him over the summer and was able to get to the rim with ease. He’s hearing from schools in BCS conferences such as Florida, Marquette, Mississippi State, and UCLA but doesn’t plan on inking his name on a LOI until the spring.
Terrance Lafayette | 6-3 | SG | God’s Academy (TX) | 2010
Lafayette easily had the wettest J of anyone that we caught in North Carolina. He offers textbook form and the ability to create his own shot off of the dribble, making him difficult to defend. Lafayette put the clamps on people defensively and finished inside as well, leading one mid-major program in attendance to throw a scholarship offer at him on the spot. Smart move, coach.